6 votes

Are backyard chickens dangerous to children?

I wanted to get 3 laying chickens and keep them in a chicken coop in my huge backyard. I'll let them out to wander in the yard when I'm outside. I have three children 2, 4, and 5 and I think they'd love taking care of a few chickens.
When presented with this idea, my husband promptly went on-line to the CDC website, where it says that chickens are full of terrible bacteria and not to have them near children. I think the CDC is probably looking after the interests of the big egg corps., heaven forbid we don't buy their crap at the grocery store, and shouldn't be taken very seriously. Of course I'd keep the coop clean and it's only 3 chickens.
How realistic are the risks? Has anyone ever heard of kids getting sick from a few backyard chickens? And what good egg laying breed would you recommend for kids?
So sick of the control.

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Haven't you seen the video

Haven't you seen the video here on DP where the Golden Chicken swoops down, picks up a child and flies off with it? STAY AWAY FROM CHICKENS!!!

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"Ehhh, What's ups Doc?" B.Bunny "Scwewy Wabbit!"E. Fudd
People's Awareness Coalition: Deprogramming Sequence

thinking about that, you can

thinking about that, you can probably clip the chickens wings so they won't fly off with your children. If you make sure to do that, then you can probably then contact the CDC and get a long list of vaccines from them to give your children that will protect them from any chicken disease...don't let that other organization sway you from a few eggs and some good experiences with your children. Make sure to keep those wings clipped though.

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"Ehhh, What's ups Doc?" B.Bunny "Scwewy Wabbit!"E. Fudd
People's Awareness Coalition: Deprogramming Sequence

I would worry about

the lil' buggers flying into your windows while you're sleeping and pecking the whole families eyes out. Scary lil' buggers.

chickens living in a chicken concentration farm

are full of bad bacteria, they are continually feeding antibiotics to keep them alive. Chicken purchased at the grocery store should always be treated as toxic waste until cooked. very likely to have Salmonella bacteria on it.

The fact is all living creatures have bacteria in them, they must to live. My parents raised 11 children on a 5 acre farm site, we always had chickens free ranging in the yard. No one ever got sick from them, in fact I think we were a lot healthier than kids are now.

Chickens are great to have in a backyard, but if you live in the city you could have problems with neighbors. To help with attracting flies feed your chicken diatomaceous earth 1 teaspoon per pound of feed. This will kill the fly larvae in manure.

So get some chicken and be a lot healthier for it, the eggs you'll find will be Superior to store bought.

Gold standard: because man can not be trusted to control his greed

keep them clean and healthy

From what I've read by Joel Salatin, its the poop that's the problem. most factory farms have chickens enclosed wall to wall wading in their own excrement, thus the need for vaccines antibiotics and pasteurization. By using a chicken tractor, rotation, or free range, their 'diapers' are changed promptly - leaving no host for the bacteria. My 3 barred rock hens are doing fine on table scraps and i would recommend considering our own fishyculture's technique for sprouting grains. I use a chicken tractor i made with a coop attached - move it everyday to new grass (never using the same ground twice in the same year). I never smell any poop. I do move them to a traditional coop area over the coldest months of the year - on that ground, i grow some vegetables in the warm months.
My 2 year old and I feed the hens every morning - she loves it more than I do and I enjoy it. My experience with the roosters is that until they mature/ grow out that spur on their heel they aren't that aggressive; however, more than one rooster will lead to bloodsport for dominance.

They should be fine

Roosters tend to be aggressive, though.

Also, be sure the chickens are very secure. I know someone who recently had their rooster eaten by a fox. The chicken house had a part that you could lift up the top to get the eggs out, and the fox figured out how to lift it and took the rooster. There is now a hook on it so it can't be lifted up so easily.

“It is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succour of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till." -J.R.R. Tolkien

And possums and raccons

will rip their heads off. Use 1/2x1/2 hardware cloth and fix it to where nothing can dig under the coop....and have a covered run. Hawks will take off with a chicken.

ConstitutionHugger's picture

yikes!

We have a lot of coyotes and hawks around here. I'll be sure to use hardware cloth to keep them safe at night. Thanks for the tip.

Seriously? People have had

Seriously? People have had chickens for thousands of years.

I remember when MikeLawson lost his chickens

it was very sad.. I think that's the hard part.. is with luck, you will outlive the chickens, so be prepared to have a "this is the end of your friend story".

Like oithers here have mentioned, I enjoy watching the chickens, they remind me of people in so many ways. I use cardboard file boxes/banker boxes, comes in packages and you have to assemble them, pretty easy to do, and cut a door in one end and use the lids for particians and I have a large piece of cardboard attached to the wall of the coop, I can lift to clean boxes, remove eggs.. inexpensive, easy to clean and replace. I don't use much hay, I use pine litter, in the boxes.. the floor is covered woth 4'x4' sheets of heavy vynil, also real easy to clean.

I started off with three little yellow chicks that became red hens, one which is a Hooster.. if she could only crow her life would be complete. Anyways, next came three bardrocks and one of those turned into Bonbon the rooster. Wacthing a rooster grow up is funny, but they are not for kids, as many here have said. Then came 5 barnfelders and 2 wionsdots (my favorite is windot, very gental and inteligent.. communicative. One of the winedots and one of the barnfelders began brooding last fall, and so now I have three looks like bardrocks.. all appear to be hens.. they love meat..

I don't feed mine hormones, so I don't get many eggs. Mine are trained to not come on the porch.. they are pastured, and have made friends with several neighbors.. the dicidious dirt Ralph Hornsby mentioned.. very good stuff! My birds perch above my head, they have a ladder above their nesting boxes, so the can fly up to roost, the diameter is about 3".. and then I have the corners with additionl, smaller perches for those who have their issues.

Coops are work.. chickens will tie you down.. you gotta get up to let them out at sunrise (or whatever your routine is.. some folks do things artifiscially.. light/hormones, and you gotta close the coop at sunset.. my cat is cool with the chickens. and though I would like a dog, have to be the right dog.

Chickens live about 8 years..so if you have any family plans for vacations or trips.. you need to have someone to watch your chickens.. and I compost my litter.. Bonbon's crap pile.. they chicken are helpful turning the compost, seeking worms.. but that's another issue is the waste..

I don't have kids, and if I did, I would pribably go with ducks.

Ducks?

Seriously? You'd go with ducks? Maybe if you have a really big pond. But ducks (and yes, I have them) require water and are absolutely filthy---at least everything they are around is made filthy. I could make a good joke about Republicans at this point, but I forbear.

don't forbare, let's have it

we need it.. if it quals like a duck and walks like a duck it must be a filthy republican? Whaaaa?

ConstitutionHugger's picture

Thank you everyone!

I'm enjoying your comments and will look at all the helpful links you've provided. I want to do a good job caring for the hens (and my kids, too). I'm not the type to worry about germs, but my husband is. Instead of getting annoyed with him I came to the DP for help. Thanks to you all I will have some great info to present my case and not just roll my eyes (he hates that).
Here is the coop I was thinking about getting: http://chickensaloon.com/the-tavern-backyard-chicken-coop/

Thanks again for the great comments.

OH! I am SO glad you asked!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pn_QotqfSDI

He helped raise them from chicks, although I would not have just stood by had that been a rooster.
Most bacteria has been traced to about 3 mass production farms, and the CDC won't release the names of the farms. I recommend considering a heritage breed from a reputable small farm.
My husband wants me to point out that birds fly wherever they want and poop all over the world anyway.

Love or fear? Chose again with every breath.

the more docile breeds are the hybrids

they're bred for easy handling and maximum egg production, not for having too much fight or flight instinct.

3 hens, when they reach the peak of their clutch will probably drop 2 eggs per day.

I went with Barred Rocks, they are a good all around bird and if you are only going to keep hens don't worry about their temperament they're just fine. Like an earlier poster said, look out for the roosters, I have two and they do get uppity sometimes. I keep a snow shovel nearby to shoo them away.

BTW I recommend Storey's guide to raising chickens

everything you need to know is in that book. If you get it from amazon find a link from here, I'm not sure if DP gets a % for books that are not advertised with a thumbnail or not but it doesn't hurt anyway.

also this site is a great resource
http://www.backyardchickens.com/

Roosters can be trouble

if you ever get any. They will kick the children and sometimes even run up on them. We have 20 chickens with four small children. We make sure they wash their hands and have had no trouble. People have been raising chickens for many years just fine. Don't let the government run CDC frighten you. This is the same government that wants to ban children from farm chores, and/or make them take government safety courses to do so. If you don't pen them up, they will poop on everything, including your back porch. We let them run around for a while (20 of them) and we loved it, except for the poop everywhere. You really don't want the children (not kids, which are baby goats, little devils) running around bare foot in chicken poop, and they must be careful not to put their dirty hands in their mouths. Is fresh milk dangerous? Maybe a little, but the benefits far out way the risks. Just be sensible about it. We have barred plymouth rocks. They are supposed to be good for both eggs and meat. The eggs are a beautiful soft cream color (yum yum) and we slaughtered our first rooster (the one that kicked the children the most) and stewed him up. Not sure about the taste. My wife cut him into little pieces and mixed with many other things. It is amazing how small they are when they have no feathers. He was much bigger and scarier before we plucked him LOL. Here is what my wife had to say about it...

"I'm not sure what's more gratifying... growing your own food or slaughtering your own meat. Rest in pieces Jimmy the Rooster. (p.s. that's what you get for kicking my son you $%^& chicken!)

Get it? Rest in "pieces" LOL

Yes, whitewash everything for sanitary reasons, and make the nesting box (1 or 2 boxes, we have 8 boxes for up to 32 birds) 12 by 12 by 12. I made mine 13 by 13 by 18 and they are too big. 12 by 12 by 12 or 14 at the most, and lots of comfy hay.

chickens can be very soothing. We have, as well as my brothers at their houses, spent many hours sitting in chairs watching them or playing with them, at least in the beginning. Enjoy!

I am Ron Paul.

Jimmy sounds tasty.

lol!
I second your opinion of roosters. I "get their attention" when they are young, and never turn my back to them.

Love or fear? Chose again with every breath.

You mean you haven't heard of the thousands of

child deaths attributed to being pecked to death by chickens every year? Me neither!

beephree

What ever you do

Dont get a rooster. They don't just crow in the morning. They crow ALL DAY LONG, and it's anoying as hell!

brown chicken

brown cow

His name is Edward Snowden

What is Capitalism?
http://youtu.be/yNF09pUPypw

In the 70's & 80's

When my 3 kids were 3,4,& 5 I owned a large child care center.

We had 6 hens and a rooster at our day care center.

We had about 50 kids at a time on site.

The kids played with the chickens like dolls. They would just pick them up, arms full of fat hens.

My three year old daughter would put them in wagons and pull the hens around for a ride. So it kind of caught on with the other kids.

The hens loved coming into the play yard and clean up the lawn after the school kids ate their lunch outside on picnic tables.

I usually kept the hens fenced out of the play yard unless I was out there to watch. I did not want my six teachers to be responsible for something that could get them in an issue with the health department.

The hen house was about 100 feet away from the day care play yard.

After lunch the kids would gather scraps from the tables, put them in a big tin can and bring them out to the hen house.

We also had a few goats.

The first chickie we had

was so tame it jumps on your shoulder or back if you are holding feed. The brooding hen and the chicks would jump to my arms and perch their while eating out of my hands. It is amazing how soothing chickens can be.

I am Ron Paul.

Yes soothing

If I hadn't seen it with my own eyes I wouldn't believe it.

BUT

When I was a kid I remember going to a relatives house and they yelled at me not to drop the feed on the ground near my feet or I would get pecked.

It instilled a fear in me.

They were only trying to help but they did it in a 'nervous' kind of way. Not relaxed.

Imo

no...otherwise, we would of heard about it from people that lived hundreds of years ago.

I have yet to see a chicken attack a child.

Just get them to take their shoes off abd wash your hands.

donvino

Maybe you haven't been around chickens...

A rooster can take a pretty serious chunk out of a small kid. They are very...well, chicken, but if you turn your back certain roosters can be a menace. This is not to say that chickens are generally dangerous. And you can eliminate aggressive roosters for soup (or dinner if young enough).

But the OP's plan of a few hens is a good one for almost everyone, I think. You won't get fertilized eggs without a rooster, and thus can't hatch your own chicks, but the eggs are still good to eat.

rooster attach children

and can leave gashes! Our children refused to go outside when the roosters were around. They are very afraid of them. Our chickens are friendly enough they will come up and peck at your legs, hands and arms, but it doesn't hurt normally, except it seems to hurt the children more. Note: don;et let your small boys pee in the back yard ;) Keep your shoes on to keep the poop off the bare feet.

I am Ron Paul.

How to Raise Happy Healthy Chickens

This page
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/11/2...

Has an excellent video(s) linked under the headline referenced above. (I did not watch the first two on the page since I really don't want to know any more about commercial egg production.)

Skip down to the Happy Chickens and watch that and the following linked videos if you have time. Subsequent videos get into egg production. Dr. Mercola asks all about salmonella, etc.

What do you think? http://consequeries.com/

I commend you for asking questions

to safeguard your children's health. And it is said that there are no stupid questions only stupid answers. But it is sad that our society is so dumbed down and instilled with fear that this questions even has to be asked.